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Pink Ribbons, Inc.: Breast Cancer and the Politics of Philanthropy [Paperback]

Samantha King
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 19 2008 0816648999 978-0816648993

“Samantha King explains how, beyond being an all-too-frequent and still-too-lethal disease for many women, breast cancer is a corporate dream come true.” —Herizons

 

“Fascinating. King’s deft and thoughtful interpretation of the pink ribbon phenomenon is an important wake-up call. Going against the grain, she takes a clear-eyed look at a trend that often seems to outshine the disease that put it on the map.” —Women’s Review of Books

 

 “King’s criticisms of breast-cancer philanthropy provide a new means of looking at one of our culture’s most celebrated causes.  For anyone who has ever squirreled away yogurt lids for the cause, Pink Ribbons, Inc. is food for thought.” —Bitch

 

“A fascinating read for anyone whose life has been touched by breast cancer.” —Curve

 

“Breast cancer advocacy is being transformed from meaningful civic participation into purchasing products. To understand the personal, social, and political costs, read this book.” —Barbara Brenner, Executive Director of Breast Cancer Action

 

In Pink Ribbons, Inc., Samantha King traces how breast cancer has been transformed from a stigmatized disease and individual tragedy to a market-driven industry of survivorship. Here, for the first time, King questions the effectiveness and legitimacy of privately funded efforts to stop the epidemic among American women. Highly revelatory-at times shocking-Pink Ribbons, Inc. challenges the commercialization of the breast cancer movement.

 

Samantha King is associate professor of physical and health education and women’s studies at Queen’s University, in Kingston, Ontario

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From Booklist

The pink ribbon has come to symbolize efforts to find a cure for breast cancer. But it has also become a powerful symbol for corporate philanthropy, boosting the image of corporations, that promote products from yogurt to cars, slicing off a portion of proceeds to support breast cancer research. King, a women's health issues scholar, explores the phenomenal growth of Pink Ribbons Inc.; the annual massing for the Susan G. Komen Foundation's Race for the Cure 5K runs; and other high-profile events with huge corporate sponsorships. However admirable the effort to find a cure, King argues that it overwhelms efforts to learn how and why women get breast cancer and how it can be prevented. Prevention efforts could help more low-income women who lack the means to pay for treatment. King examines the history of philanthropy and how breast cancer became such a prominent cause, garnering far more support and publicity than other diseases, demonstrating the ability of American women to flex their political and economic muscle on behalf of an important cause. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great and highly recommend Oct. 5 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I give it 5 starts because I found it informative and would encourage everyone to read it. It is important to educate ourselves and this book is a good beginning.
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5.0 out of 5 stars excellent Feb. 13 2012
By Mandy
Format:Paperback
This book came quickly and in excellent condition. I am enjoying it because it is a very interesting and thought provoking read.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent academic overview of current breast cancer funding Dec 6 2007
By M. Jaye - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Pink Ribbons, Inc. is an excellent overview of breast cancer philanthrophy's relationship to breast cancer research politics. As an epidemiology graduate student, most of the people I know with criticisms of current breast cancer research agendas are medical researchers. This book gave me valuable insights into why we have such a difficult time obtaining grants to research the correlation between environmental toxins and breast cancer.

However, because it appears to be written for academics who specialize in breast cancer history, it glosses over the social and political context that these changes are occurring in. Anyone interested in this book should read Barron H. Lerner's The Breast Cancer Wars: Hope, Fear, and the Pursuit of a Cure in Twentieth-Century America or Robert Aronowitz's Unnatural History: Breast Cancer and American Society (Cambridge Studies in the History of Medicine) before reading this.
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now a documentary film premiered at Toronto Film Festival 2011 Oct. 1 2011
By M - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This documentary, based on Samantha King's Pink Ribbons Inc., was produced by Ravida Din, directed by Lea Pool, and written by Patricia Kearns, Nancy Guerin, Pool. Readers can look up more specifics. The reviews are excellent for this National Film Board of Canada release.

I've had King's excellent book for years, and yet I am surprised that I never got around to writing a review here, but attribute that omission to constantly referencing the book in the many articles, letters to editors, legislators, businesses, medical organizations, "pink" organizations, etc., I have sent in an attempt to remove the pink fog from the horrendous status of care for breast health and breast diseases.

I firmly believe that what King presents effects every single aspect of the care, or lack of care, women receive, as the more "pink," "feel-good," "infantilization," and all the rest of it that is allowed to numb and dumb. I grant that a small percentage of men get breast cancer, but I will not diminish the fact of gender-based disease by using the ubquitious, "people" when talking about breast cancer).

The big "K" has it's registered trademark. I thought of a new one today -- just popped into my mind after seeing a comic strip, no less, that was all about "pink." Caveat -- it's black humor. Here it is:
"Breast cancer for women, not for profit."

As to King's book being too academic - any woman who has had to deal with breast anomalies - learns so much about medicine, and the politics of medicine, than she might well be granted an honorary degree. And, having a very average brain, assure everyone that her writings, and the message, were crystal clear to me.

I hope the documentary receives a wide, and accessible release, because film has such power, and between King's work, (and the work of others), and film itself, I pray - I really pray -- that the public will be motivated to abandon pink profiteering, and focus on what exactly happens to women who have concerns about their breasts, the scattershot approach to care that they receive, especially if faced with unclear results, or absence of cancer -- that's poorly expressed - women who enter the cancer-system, and ultimately learns that she has a non-cancerous condition, is utterly abandoned. That's the next book I want to see written.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great. Dec 26 2013
By Ashley N. Mack - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A great study of the neoliberalization of activism and politics. If you are interested in how neoliberal discourses have come to change our orientation towards public life, this is a great book, whether or not you are interested in breast cancer politics.
4.0 out of 5 stars very interesting insights on capitalization of health campaigns and disease May 26 2014
By Pooja Kiran Patel - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Liked how it illuminates the different aspects health movements and initiatives. How these initiatives are exploited and used by companies to make profits
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book! March 18 2013
By Ashley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I thought the book was pretty interesting, and worth the read, even if I did have to read it for a class.
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